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Is it legal to fly drone at night? (US)
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36427 65 2015-9-8
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luckjo7
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I am wondering whether it is legal to fly drone at night. Some people says that it is illegal to fly at night because of the FAA regulation.
But, the other says it is legal to fly drone at night because it is just guidance from FAA, NOT LAWS

So, I am really confusing... is there anyone who can answer this question?
2015-9-8
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SpunOne69
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It's not really a LAW, but the FAA does say that it should be within "Line of Sight"...wouldn't that be pretty hard at night??  I've tried, and it's hard to see the LED lights past a few hundred feet...
2015-9-8
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Willie Wonka
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This is a much debated subject and you will hear so many things, rest your soul and fly safe and smart, to fly at night you need to be able have mastered flying daytime and be able listen for the sound of the motors and be able to maneuver with ease at day time.  

Fly with discretion and observe other laws and you will be fine.
2015-9-8
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RedHotPoker
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SpunOne69 Posted at 2015-9-8 15:30
It's not really a LAW, but the FAA does say that it should be within "Line of Sight"...wouldn't that ...

If you are having trouble seeing the Phantom 3 LED orientation diodes on your drone arms,
Please try flying a little higher in the dark night sky. Mine are very bright, plenty enough to see the drone from very far away, and right up to the suggested ceiling limit. There is no reason not to have it visible, and within LOS.

City Ambient light can be a B.

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2015-9-8
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ag0n
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SpunOne69 Posted at 2015-9-8 16:30
It's not really a LAW, but the FAA does say that it should be within "Line of Sight"...wouldn't that ...

Not at all.  It has lights that make it even more visible at night than during the day.
2015-9-8
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SpunOne69
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My bad, I should have mentioned that my vision is not what it used to be!! ha ha ha
2015-9-8
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rayrokni
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2015-9-8 18:34
If you are having trouble seeing the Phantom 3 LED orientation diodes on your drone arms,
Please  ...

I agree, i fly mine at 390' and out 1/3 mile and i still could see it, much easier than day time
2015-9-8
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RedHotPoker
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SpunOne69 Posted at 2015-9-8 16:43
My bad, I should have mentioned that my vision is not what it used to be!! ha ha ha

If you can afford to fly a Phantom 3...

Yeah well, anyways, I have my new eyeglass prescription, & just have to make time this week,
to go pick out a new pair of Phantom 3 Pro' Pilot Glasses. ;-)

Yeah, You really shouldn't be flying, if you can't see your ... Well you know.

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2015-9-8
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Two Snakes
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Much debated indeed.  Keep this in mind as you push the limits of the FAA guidelines.  Do you have the money to fight it in court if an officer confiscates your UAV and writes you a ticket?  Also do you want to possibly harm the reputation of our hobby and/or commercial venture?  Look at what is going on all over the country.  We are the brunt of numerous attacks in the media.  Always fly with the greatest of caution and remember you are surrounded by people that may view your activity as illegal.  Weather it is legal or not.  Be an educator with this new found instrument and include as many people as you can.  Talk to your neighbors before you fly over there property.  This approach will only help.  Flying at night or over the wrong house without them knowing what you are doing is asking for more troubles, bad press or irritated people calling the cops on you.  

On a side note I love the way the news shows how a person with a drone caused problems and the very next story is using one to film the story.  
2015-9-8
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brycerichert
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Yes. You are a hobbyist. You can fly at night. As others have said, it's actually easier to see.
2015-9-8
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SpunOne69
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I don't usually fly my P3P at night...but 5 or 8 shots of Belvedere and I can't promise that I won't!! ha ha ha
2015-9-9
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Alan Guan
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2016-4-21
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bbert73
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According to the newest regulations, night flying IS NOT allowed.
2016-4-21
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185EZ
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bbert73@msn.com Posted at 2016-4-21 19:47
According to the newest regulations, night flying IS NOT allowed.

seriously?
might as well burn my drone now.
2016-4-21
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bbert73
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185EZ Posted at 2016-4-22 11:06
seriously?
might as well burn my drone now.

Or the newest proposals for regulations I should say. It's not regulation yet but it's still not allowed.
2016-4-21
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185EZ
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I like flying at night better sometimes. Visual line of sight is better.
Just fun to watch the lights across the sky
and have some fun.
2016-4-21
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Rizarius
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185EZ Posted at 2016-4-22 11:17
I like flying at night better sometimes. Visual line of sight is better.
Just fun to watch the ligh ...

Exactly what I was thinking. On a clear windless night just feels oh so right!
2016-4-21
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HangTime81
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Rizarius Posted at 2016-4-21 20:49
Exactly what I was thinking. On a clear windless night just feels oh so right!

Right. Always great when you get the opportunity to endanger the life of others as well. Unbelievable all the idiots on this board who think that hobbyists for some reason have clearance to perform ill-advised acts that licensed pilots can't. WRONG!!! You cowboys keep it up. Kill somebody, then you'll really have proven the point. As long as it feels so good to you and you get your thrill! Right on!
2016-12-5
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HangTime81
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185EZ Posted at 2016-4-21 19:06
seriously?
might as well burn my drone now.

Please do, if you're an irresponsible kook.
2016-12-5
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shawn_
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HangTime81 Posted at 2016-12-5 16:14
Right. Always great when you get the opportunity to endanger the life of others as well. Unbelievable all the idiots on this board who think that hobbyists for some reason have clearance to perform ill-advised acts that licensed pilots can't. WRONG!!! You cowboys keep it up. Kill somebody, then you'll really have proven the point. As long as it feels so good to you and you get your thrill! Right on!

Way to revive a 7 month old thread just to bash people.
2016-12-5
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Geebax
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shawn_ Posted at 2016-12-6 09:24
Way to revive a 7 month old thread just to bash people.

He is a zombie killer.
2016-12-5
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HangTime81
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Maybe this will help some of you out. I see nothing to the effect that hobbyists have more freedom here than licensed pilots.

https://ontheradar.foxrothschild ... rations-for-drones/
2016-12-5
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shawn_
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HangTime81 Posted at 2016-12-5 16:34
Maybe this will help some of you out. I see nothing to the effect that hobbyists have more freedom here than licensed pilots.

https://ontheradar.foxrothschild.com/2016/04/articles/drone-regulations-and-policy/historic-faa-decision-approves-night-operations-for-drones/

all your references are outdated:

https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/

The FAA says you must only maintain line of sight when flying for fun, but does not restrict to only day operations, as it does with commercial. A waiver is needed for commercial.
2016-12-5
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Kirk2579
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HangTime81 Posted at 2016-12-5 17:14
Right. Always great when you get the opportunity to endanger the life of others as well. Unbelievable all the idiots on this board who think that hobbyists for some reason have clearance to perform ill-advised acts that licensed pilots can't. WRONG!!! You cowboys keep it up. Kill somebody, then you'll really have proven the point. As long as it feels so good to you and you get your thrill! Right on!

a bit of drama don't you think,

I think one should be a little more versed in the rules
before calling others names and accusing them of all kinds of things,

Feel any way you wish
but you are indeed rude and incorrect !

please research!
2016-12-5
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HangTime81
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shawn_ Posted at 2016-12-5 14:59
all your references are outdated:

https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/

I guess I'm missing the part where it backs up your point. I think the omission of the restriction is hardly a statement that says it's ok. It seems somewhat counter-intuitive that commercial would be restricted in this fashion, and not hobby.
2016-12-5
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HangTime81
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shawn_ Posted at 2016-12-5 14:24
Way to revive a 7 month old thread just to bash people.

Wahhh. Stupid is still stupid. Even 7 months later.
2016-12-5
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Geebax
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HangTime81 Posted at 2016-12-6 10:37
I guess I'm missing the part where it backs up your point. I think the omission of the restriction is hardly a statement that says it's ok. It seems somewhat counter-intuitive that commercial would be restricted in this fashion, and not hobby.

I know I am going to regret this, but why not park your vitriol somewhere else and enlighten us on why you think flying at night is more dangerous than during the day. My logic says it is actually safer, you can see the lights on the aircraft much further away, there are less likely to be people under the aircraft and there is far less liklehood of aircraft being in the vicinity, simply because fewer people are licensed to fly aircraft at night.
2016-12-5
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HangTime81
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Geebax Posted at 2016-12-5 16:03
I know I am going to regret this, but why not park your vitriol somewhere else and enlighten us on why you think flying at night is more dangerous than during the day. My logic says it is actually safer, you can see the lights on the aircraft much further away, there are less likely to be people under the aircraft and there is far less liklehood of aircraft being in the vicinity, simply because fewer people are licensed to fly aircraft at night.

Because you are even more of a hazard for manned aircraft to see and avoid. Some of these guys might live in Montana. Great. I live in California. Lots of private aviation and approach corridors here. I think even running the risk of killing another person for the sake of personal enjoyment is frivolous, at best. I personally have friends who are pilots and own their own aircraft. I worked for a gentleman years ago and we flew all over the midwest in his Cessna. I think a lot of the folks so happy to send these up into the airspace likely have very little personal investment because they don't have the knowledge to appreciate the risk that they pose. I hardly think my comments are cruel or bitter. I have as much right to park them here as someone who is supporting activities which could actually kill another person.
2016-12-5
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Geebax
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HangTime81 Posted at 2016-12-6 11:25
Because you are even more of a hazard for manned aircraft to see and avoid. Some of these guys might live in Montana. Great. I live in California. Lots of private aviation and approach corridors here. I think even running the risk of killing another person for the sake of personal enjoyment is frivolous, at best. I personally have friends who are pilots and own their own aircraft. I worked for a gentleman years ago and we flew all over the midwest in his Cessna. I think a lot of the folks so happy to send these up into the airspace likely have very little personal investment because they don't have the knowledge to appreciate the risk that they pose. I hardly think my comments are cruel or bitter. I have as much right to park them here as someone who is supporting activities which could actually kill another person.

'I have as much right to park them here as someone who is supporting activities which could actually kill another person.'

Sure, but excuse those of us who have heard them 100 times over and are sick of hearing it. In fact , the forum members in general are tired of self-righteous posters bringing this up again and again. You might note that the original question was asking whether it is legal or not, and the fact is that no laws exist forbidding use of them at night.

As for making them less visible to pilots of manned aircraft, that is crap, drones are nearly invisible to those pilots anyway, and even if they were flying at low altitudes, the lights make them more visible than during the day. In any event, it is the responsibility of the drone operator to get out of the airspace if an aircraft approaches. And it is not hard to do, you can hear an aircraft approaching quite easily, so you just drop down out of the way.
2016-12-5
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shawn_
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HangTime81 Posted at 2016-12-5 18:25
Because you are even more of a hazard for manned aircraft to see and avoid. Some of these guys might live in Montana. Great. I live in California. Lots of private aviation and approach corridors here. I think even running the risk of killing another person for the sake of personal enjoyment is frivolous, at best. I personally have friends who are pilots and own their own aircraft. I worked for a gentleman years ago and we flew all over the midwest in his Cessna. I think a lot of the folks so happy to send these up into the airspace likely have very little personal investment because they don't have the knowledge to appreciate the risk that they pose. I hardly think my comments are cruel or bitter. I have as much right to park them here as someone who is supporting activities which could actually kill another person.

Cool story bro. I am a commercial pilot and have a plane as well. Not sure what your old employer having a plane has anything to do with this. Show me an airport that has an approach path lower than 400' more than a mile outside of the airport.  Pilots do not fly low at night unless taking off or on approach, and that is not miles out from an airport. This includes the airspace in CA.

As to your other comment "I guess I'm missing the part where it backs up your point. I think the omission of the restriction is hardly a statement that says it's ok. It seems somewhat counter-intuitive that commercial would be restricted in this fashion, and not hobby."
If you have read the FAR/AIM at any point or know anything about FAA rulemaking, the omission from the restriction for "flying for fun," is exactly what makes it not a restriction. Which is why they do restrict it for commercial flying, without a waiver.

Stay under 400' and away from airports and use B4Ufly and you're fine.

You're clearly butthurt about something, chill out.
2016-12-6
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HangTime81
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shawn_ Posted at 2016-12-6 09:10
Cool story bro. I am a commercial pilot and have a plane as well. Not sure what your old employer having a plane has anything to do with this. Show me an airport that has an approach path lower than 400' more than a mile outside of the airport.  Pilots do not fly low at night unless taking off or on approach, and that is not miles out from an airport. This includes the airspace in CA.

As to your other comment "I guess I'm missing the part where it backs up your point. I think the omission of the restriction is hardly a statement that says it's ok. It seems somewhat counter-intuitive that commercial would be restricted in this fashion, and not hobby."

Thanks Shawn

My concern is for the general safety of other people, not even myself. If this deserves your response, so be it. I hope your 'fun' doesn't create a life changing event for anyone else.
2016-12-6
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fansa84fe8a4
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There is a model flying club's field in Tehachapi, CA about 2.6 miles from the municipal airport located there as well as a nearby busy sailplane airfield.  It's a AMA sanctioned field too and I believe you need to be a member of it as well as the club to use it.  They also do a lot of night flights there as evidenced midway down the page on their club's website here:

Tehachapi Crosswinds Club

I believe the hobbyist's rules, as far as the FAA is concerned, follow some community based rules based on a given club.  If the club is okay with it and has some sort of safety rules they implement, then it seems the FAA is satisfied.  I don't know how the AMA clubs get their waivers as many AMA fields are within the 5 mile radius of airports that the drones have to comply with.  May be flight distance restrictions or something, but some AMA clubs are also anti-drone clubs too.

Fwiw, there is also some other AMA field a few miles west but it is a policed field by armed security in some closed gate area.  Unless you live there, you cannot fly there.
2016-12-6
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RedHotPoker
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Flying at night for me, is certainly a lot of fun, removing several of the negatives associated with day light flight.
Obtrusive bystanders, kids and grown ups alike. Mostly Uneducated noisemakers who love to create unecessesary turmoil. People in general.
Most parks and large open public areas are empty so I can fly to my hearts content, without bothering anyone, or attracting unwanted attention.

Only the local constabulary have noticed my excursions above, after dark. Ah, but they hover above me briefly and then just buzz off, on their own aerial missions. Haha

My only real negative, while flying on warm summer nights are those dreaded vampires, the large blood thirsty mosquitos. Oh man those pesky little buggers are more annoying than a disgruntled bystander. ;-)
But if I break out the DEET or citrus oil, they can be held off, for a couple of batteries worth of air time.

Sorry to read the negative comments above. You would think we could "all just be get along", being in the same hobby and drone family.
But there are always those negatory people who are just not willing to play friendly. Sad, but true... I feel for you!! Feel disappointed.

I suppose, now that I am utilizing my super bright Lume Cubes, http://www.lumecube.com/164.html that my night flights, will be recognized from a much farther distance away, which may be cause  for alarm. Particularly from those folks who are sky watchers, seeking to witness real UFO craft visiting our tiny spinning globe from their own distant planets and far-far away galaxies.If you want to experience a new thrill with your drone, go out to an open vacant lot of land, and take off, into the darkness of the night.

RedHotPoker

2016-12-6
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Adam Flurk
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SpunOne69 Posted at 2015-9-9 10:26
I don't usually fly my P3P at night...but 5 or 8 shots of Belvedere and I can't promise that I won't!! ha ha ha

Yikes. I would recommend flying your bird at night but not so much after the shots. You might be the first person arrested for flying their drone while under the influence. hhahahah
2016-12-6
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Adam Flurk
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shawn_ Posted at 2016-12-6 12:10
Cool story bro. I am a commercial pilot and have a plane as well. Not sure what your old employer having a plane has anything to do with this. Show me an airport that has an approach path lower than 400' more than a mile outside of the airport.  Pilots do not fly low at night unless taking off or on approach, and that is not miles out from an airport. This includes the airspace in CA.

As to your other comment "I guess I'm missing the part where it backs up your point. I think the omission of the restriction is hardly a statement that says it's ok. It seems somewhat counter-intuitive that commercial would be restricted in this fashion, and not hobby."

Exactly... The two most important rules in my opinion... Away from airports, and under 400'. Everything things else just follows. Anyone that wants to complain about flying at night is only missing out.
2016-12-6
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RedHotPoker
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Adam Flurk Posted at 2016-12-6 14:09
Exactly... The two most important rules in my opinion... Away from airports, and under 400'. Everything things else just follows. Anyone that wants to complain about flying at night is only missing out.

Adam, Yes, night flights are amazingly refreshing and enjoyable. Surprising how far and well you can see the onboard LED's but by adding Lume Cubes, you may increase that visibility ten fold... ;-)

We have like 6 different kinds of furry bats flying in Alberta, I wish they would get after the mosquitoes with  more hunger... Because getting eaten alive is most distracting, out in the field. No where to hide. Haha
Forgetting the insect repellant is most unforgiving.  I need a small bottle in the flight kit...


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KM5RG-Robert
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2016-12-6 13:11
Flying at night for me, is certainly a lot of fun, removing several of the negatives associated with day light flight.
Obtrusive bystanders, kids and grown ups alike. Mostly Uneducated noisemakers who love to create unecessesary turmoil. People in general.
Most parks and large open public areas are empty so I can fly to my hearts content, without bothering anyone, or attracting unwanted attention.

Yes but the bats that are flying around here are something to be concerned about as well as the mosquitoes. (And we have some large mosquitoes here as well). Have not had a bat (or bird) strike but makes me nervous. I guess best not to fly too fast at night and let them avoid you.
2016-12-6
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RedHotPoker
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KM5RG-Robert Posted at 2016-12-6 15:18
Yes but the bats that are flying around here are something to be concerned about as well as the mosquitoes. (And we have some large mosquitoes here as well). Have not had a bat (or bird) strike but makes me nervous. I guess best not to fly too fast at night and let them avoid you.

Unlike our drones bats have their own radar. Hahaha
So a bat strike, outside a major league ball game is fairly  uncommon.

Unless you are flying a tiny mosquito drone, then watch out! ;-)

image.jpeg
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2016-12-6
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Adam Flurk
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2016-12-6 16:18
Adam, Yes, night flights are amazingly refreshing and enjoyable. Surprising how far and well you can see the onboard LED's but by adding Lume Cubes, you may increase that visibility ten fold... ;-)

We have like 6 different kinds of furry bats flying in Alberta, I wish they would get after the mosquitoes with  more hunger... Because getting eaten alive is most distracting, out in the field. No where to hide. Haha

For sure! Wow, that's interesting! Sounds like a lot of bats! We certainly have a TON of mosquitos in Florida (there's soo much water) but this time of the year there is basically none. It's great! If I go out in my backyard I can see bats every night, but I have no clue where the are during the day! Haha.

I have not tried the Luma cubes. You talk about them a lot though! One might even think you work for Lume Cube! LOL J/K They must just be that great! Trying to save my $ for an Inspire. One day!
2016-12-6
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RedHotPoker
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Adam Flurk Posted at 2016-12-6 15:38
For sure! Wow, that's interesting! Sounds like a lot of bats! We certainly have a TON of mosquitos in Florida (there's soo much water) but this time of the year there is basically none. It's great! If I go out in my backyard I can see bats every night, but I have no clue where the are during the day! Haha.

I have not tried the Luma cubes. You talk about them a lot though! One might even think you work for Lume Cube! LOL J/K They must just be that great! Trying to save my $ for an Inspire. One day!

I can only dream about the large Inspire models. I rYde a Can Am SpYder RS-S Roadster, so I have no room for those behemoths... But they are awesome. A friend here has an Inspire1 and he loves that thing. I don't blame him. But mobility, and availability of places to fly them would be far too limiting to consider such a large monetary investment or purchase, for me. Yes the lume cubes bring the light into the darkness for sure. You can visit their busy website and check them out, at your own convenience. Check the video and pic albums for some incredible inspiration too.
Adam, You live in such an awesome location, that any mosquitos would be my last thing to complain about. ;-)
Yes, we do have many interesting bats cruising the sky, but they are much smarter than to crash into a slow flying drone.
Funny thing about mosquitos, you don't even know they are on you, until it's too late. So by then they have already stung you, regurgitated and refilled on your live plasma. I hate that. If you hit them just right, you get most of your blood back, yuck... Now a days they can bring disease with bad consequences.


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